The new boarding process will include nine different groups.

By Talia Avakian
February 23, 2017
Paging Ferris Bueller: American Airlines new boarding process has *nine* different groups.
Paging Ferris Bueller: American Airlines new boarding process has *nine* different groups.
| Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

American Airlines is launching a new boarding process starting March 1.

There will now be nine boarding groups to include the airline’s new basic economy, a new fare class introduced in February that offers low prices but not amenities like seat assignments and overhead bin space.

The “simplified boarding process” will be similar to current boarding order, however some group names have been changed (to protect the innocent).

Preboarding will be for ConciergeKey members (the premium of the premium rewards members).

Group 1

First Class
Active duty U.S. military with military I.D.
(Business Class on a 2-class international aircraft)

Group 2

Executive Platinum
oneworld Emerald
(Business Class on a 3-class aircraft)

Group 3

Platinum Pro
oneworld Sapphire

Group 4

oneworld Ruby
Alaska Airlines MVP members
Premium Economy
Citi / AAdvantage Executive cardmembers
Customers who bought Priority boarding

And main boarding will include:

Group 5

Main Cabin Extra
Eligible AAdvantage credit cardmembers
Eligible corporate travelers

Group 6

And so begins the groups who have no distinction besides a “6” on their boarding pass.

Group 7

And a “7.”

Group 8

And an “8.”

Group 9

Finally, group nine—yes, nine—will be for basic economy passengers.

While the airline says the process is meant to make boarding easier, some critics say it’s making the procedure more complicated for customers.

“The boarding order will be the same, with only minor exceptions,” a company spokesman told MarketWatch. “The change is in how we refer to each group on board passes and announcements.”

The change is one of several the airline is making this year, including the exclusion of seat-back entertainment screens on its new fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.